Friday, 19 September 2014

How to: Keep your Fencing Panels Looking as Good as New

When you first put up your freshly painted or stained fencing panels, they instantly transform the look of your home’s exterior and create a beautiful boundary for your property.
Over time, a combination of sun, wind and rain can soon add a combination of stains, mould and algae to the panels, meaning they don’t look as pristine as they first did.
Regularly using a pressure washer like the ones available from trusted brands such as karcher uk is a good preventative action for avoiding a build-up of dirt and along with sealing, helps to keep your fence sturdy and free of problems.
Cost-effective maintenance
Fairly frequent fence cleaning and sealing will definitely help to keep your fence in good condition and help it to retain its strength, as well as that appealing well-maintained finish.
Having a regular cleaning routine when you have the pressure washer out will also help you to save money in the long run, as you will get more life out of your fencing panels when they are looked after and cleaned on a consistent basis.
Prepare your fence
If you think that your fencing panels could do with another coat of stain to keep them looking as fresh as possible, it is important to make sure that you clean and prepare your fence before you apply any wood stain to it.
Cleaning your fence with a pressure washer will help to remove any dirt, algae or other debris that has built-up on the surface. It will also help to open the pores of the wood, which will make the panel more receptive to the stain.
Fence cleaning tips
It is best to use a light pressure for cleaning your fencing panels, and you may want to consider a different flow strength of water depending on whether the fence is made from hard or soft wood. 
Cold water should be used instead of hot water, and for best results use a nozzle that has a spray angle of at least 25 degrees. Test the nozzle on an inconspicuous area first just to make sure that you have got the settings right.
Best way to clean
For a simple clean using your pressure washer, you can just use water and a nozzle tip that gives you good coverage with a nice and wide stream.
For excellent results, the best way to clean your fencing panel would be to use a consistent up and down motion to cover the area methodically. This will help you to get the majority of dirt and grime out in one go as you work your way along the grain of the fencing panel.
Practice makes perfect
As with a number of maintenance tasks, practice makes perfect. If you are using your pressure washer for the first time on your wooden fencing, it makes sense to start off with a lower pressure than you think is necessary and then use more pressure once you quickly get the hang of it. This will help you achieve the result you are looking for.
Your fencing panels are under almost constant attack from the effects of the sun which can fade the surface, and water which can lead to swelling and shrinking, as well as a build-up of things like mould and algae.
Using your pressure washer will help keep these problems at bay and help your home to always have beautiful boundaries.

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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Dear Ethan: 17 Months Old

Dear my beautiful little baby boy -  Ethan, 

You are now 17 months old!  (This last month has gone by super quick (don't they all?) and I have just re-read your 16 month update, which really, is pretty much still accurate of how you are now.)

The tantrums have begun..
This month you've definitely discovered 'the tantrum'. Oh yes - we've hit that stage. I know it's only in the beginning stages and definitely not as bad as they will probably go on to be. But you do have a little temper on you. It's more of an impatient temper, perhaps more of a frustration than a temper actually. And at your age you get so frustrated easily because I can't explain things to you just yet. 

You understand more than you let on..
I'm not sure how much you understand of what we say to you. You definitely understand some things, as when I ask you to go get your shoes, you'll run into the kitchen, get them out of the drawer then run back to me with them. You also ran into the kitchen the other day when I told you that Daddy was making you lunch. So I think you understand a lot more than you let on!

Meals out with an active baby = a big fat no no!
It's getting harder to go out to places now, but that doesn't matter, it's part of having a baby/child and we would rather have you over anything. If we go out for a meal, you get so impatient and don't want to sit around in your highchair waiting for food or for us to eat. You're an active baby - you always have been, you'd much rather be outside exploring and running about. 

Where you go, Thomas goes..
Your personality is still shining through more and more daily - you're not the type of baby who wants to sit around playing with toys. You want to be on the move constantly. And you want to do new things all of the time. You take your little Thomas the tank engine toy train around with you everywhere and push it along new terrains that you come across. This is your type of 'playing with toys'.

Yep, you're growing up..
And it's apparent everyday. Sometimes I just sit back, smile and watch you do your thing. My heart bursts with so much love for you every second and sometimes I worry about the future, about the days when you're older and Mummy is no longer your number one person. But that's all part of it isn't it? And it makes me enjoy these moments so much more. And anyway - I know that will always have a special bond no matter how old you are. You will always be my little boy. <3 No matter what.

I love you to the moon and back. 

Love Mummy. xx

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5 secrets to a happier and healthier pregnancy

Congratulations, you’re expecting! Amongst all the conflicting emotions, foremost in your mind will be the well being of your growing bump, so here are a few tips to help you stay on top form throughout pregnancy.

Eat well - Go Folic!

Folic Acid is proven to reduce the risk of certain birth defects known as neural tube defects. The charity Shine, which supports those living with Spina Bifida (a neural tube defect), hosts a Go Folic! website to educate and support women about the benefits of Folic Acid and how to get enough. 

Cut out alcohol

If you drink when you’re pregnant, alcohol from your blood crosses the placenta and enters your baby’s blood. According to Tommy’s – a charity which funds research into stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage – cutting back on alcohol should be a priority. The charity advises: “Alcohol can harm your developing baby, so you should think about giving up drinking while you are pregnant, or cutting right back. The safest approach in pregnancy is to choose not to drink at all. However, small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy (not more than one to two units, not more than once or twice a week) have not been shown to be harmful.” 

Stop smoking

Conventional cigarettes contain nicotine, as well as up to 4,000 other toxins. Although full tests are still underway, advice on suggests that if you have to smoke, e-cigarettes are likely to be less harmful than normal cigarettes. A pregnant woman needs to be doubly sure of what she's putting into her body - click here to view a website which sells only fully analysed UK manufactured eliquid. Also, has lots of useful information on how to stay safe and see exactly what's in their bottle of eliquid.

Eat well

‘Eating for two’ doesn’t mean eating twice as much! Eating to keep you and your baby healthy is important during pregnancy, but this means eating well, not eating more. Eating a balanced diet and getting the vitamins and minerals you need, will help you protect your baby while he or she is growing – the NHS has a helpful list of the foods you need to avoid during pregnancy, such as raw meats, shellfish, some cheeses and others. Check out the list and plan your diet around them. The website also has helpful tips on getting a healthy breakfast and avoiding hidden sugars and fats.

Gentle exercise

Walking, swimming or pregnancy yoga all help you to stay active while you’re growing your new baby. As well as helping you to have a more enjoyable pregnancy, some people believe that exercise during pregnancy could lead to an easier birth (well, relatively!).

Keep your appointments

When you know you’re pregnant, see your doctor and they will help you to organise your antenatal care. You’ll get advice for a healthy pregnancy from the start and you’ll access all the scans and antenatal appointments you need. Keep these appointments (for which you’re entitled time off from work), and you’ll get advice, support and proper care throughout your pregnancy.

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Me and Mine: SUPER Late for August 2014

It's not like I'm even late just for September! (It's now more than half way through the month!) I'm actually a month and half late for Augusts! (DOH!) But I love looking back on these - so I am posting this anyway. Here's my family and I at Furtzon Lake in Milton Keynes. We decided to go on a totally random walk to feed the ducks during our annual leave week together for our wedding anniversary.

 It was lovely and of course made a certain little man very happy,  as being outside and feeding the ducks are two of Ethans favourite ever things to do :)

Now I'm off to find a snap for September.. ! I WILL get more organised!.. One day! ;) 

dear beautiful

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Win a £50 Gift Card to spend at The Great Gift Company

Have you heard of The Great Gift Company? If not, it's a UK site specialising in beautiful and unusual gifts for men and women, children, home and garden. (Good to know with Christmas only three months away!)

They stock some lovely small gifts which would be just perfect as Christmas stocking fillers. One of my favourite small gifts out of the many available is the 'You be the judge' quiz cardsA game of real-life court dramas, containing 200 fascinating real court cases from around the world stretching back over the years. Which is totally my sort of thing and would make for an interesting different sort of family game to play on Christmas or Boxing day. I also really like the Lippy Markers and High Stylers highlighter pens. These would be perfect for any little girls school pencil case. (You can view the full range of small gifts and Christmas stocking fillers here.)

I've teamed up with the lovely people over at The Great Gift Company to bring you an exciting giveaway. They are offering one of my lucky readers a £50 gift card to spend over on their site on absolutely anything they want. (Though, their site is absolutely jam packed full of amazing gift ideas, so choosing may take a little while. ;) hehe.)

All you need to do be in with a chance of winning is enter via the rafflecopter form below. Please read my giveaway disclaimer before entering. This giveaway is open to UK residents only. Good luck! Giveaway ends October 1st 2014. 

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Craft Supplies to get your Kids into Arts and Crafts

Kids love getting creative (and messy) experimenting with art and crafts, but if you want something for your child that differs from the normal ‘crayon and paper’ set up, we’re here to help. 

We’ve put together a list of ideas of how you can get your kids into arts and crafts and how you can keep them entertained using a range of different craft supplies and kits. They don’t have to cost you the earth either, as our examples proves. 

Painting kits and supplies
Painting is the ultimate kids craft as it’s fun and insanely messy, of course. If you do want to keep a little bit of order rather than just handing over your little one a brush and some paint, you could always look into things like Painting By Numbers sets which are always a firm family favourite. Everyone had one of these growing up as they’re great fun and are surprisingly educational for teaching the little ones about colours and numbers.
Other paint-related ideas include things like face painting kits which can be great for slightly older kids that have always loved having their face painted and want to give it a go themselves! (Just to warn; you will be used to practise on). 
‘Make your own’ kits
Older kids will love the chance to completely make and decorate something themselves, and there are loads of options out there for this, from things like jewellery making kits to sewing stuff and even things like making your own fancy dress items. 
When you’re going for something like this, just be sure it comes included with everything you need or you know what else you need to buy, as there’s nothing worse than getting home and finding out your little one can’t get to work yet as you don’t have half the stuff you need!
Decorating items sets
Perfect for little ones, you could get them an item where all they need to do is decorate it rather than actually build/made it which is better for older children. There are lots of options for this on the Early Learning website including things like kits for decorating your own piggy bank, jewellery box and yoyos. 
These are great as they won’t require much supervision like they would if you actually had to make them; meaning they’re free to do whatever they like and you won’t have to interrupt their creativity! 
Different media supplies
You could always give them the chance to simply experiment with different medias and crafty supplies, ranging from your standard crayons and pencils to things a little more interesting. This can include things like glitter (gulp) to even things like clay (plasticine is the perfect alternative for little ones) and chalk. 

Opening them up to a whole new world of art is great, especially when it comes to them starting school as they’ll be familiar with lots of different materials and techniques which will help them out a lot. 

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ethans Friend. Ethans Protector.

It will never cease to amaze me that my cat thinks he's a dog

Charlie the cat is a unique little thing to say the least. He's a free spirit. Does what he wants, goes where wants. He always has, he always will. 

And it's the unique special relationship that Ethan and he seemed to have formed that really touches me. I always wanted to have a child who would be surrounded by animals and who would grow to love them as much as I do. And I really feel that Charlie is keen to help me achieve just that.

It's the way that whenever we go to the park, Charlie runs behind Ethan keeping up with him. It's the way that Charlie waits behind for Ethan if he slows down, or kneels down to push his Thomas the tank engine toy on the pavement. It's the way that Charlie sits on top of the hill at the park just above the children's tunnel, watching Ethan play. It's the way that as soon as we leave the park Charlie bounces up to follow us back home. 

It's just the way that Charlie keeps guard. As if he's Ethans protector. His friend. 

It's the way that I know Charlie will do this for years to come, even when Ethans a teenager who no longer needs his Mum or his Dad to hold his hand on the way to the park. 

And it's the way that when Ethan has his own set of mates, Charlie will most probably be a special part of that gang. 

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